Croats called to fight hooligans

Croats called to fight hooligans

ZAGREB - Agence France-Presse
Croats called to fight hooligans

UEFA President Michel Platini urges Croatia to crack down on hooligans. EPA photo

UEFA president Michel Platini urged Croatia yesterday to crack down on hooligans and warned that if the issue is not resolved it could have “fatal consequences” for national football.

“The Croatian authorities have to understand the importance of the problem of violence and hooliganism,” Platini told the Jutarnji List daily. “However, unfortunately, we are still awaiting for an adequate reaction.

My advice is not to wait for too long since the consequences could be fatal for Croatian football.”

Platini was expected in Zagreb later yesterday, where he was due to attend ceremonies for the 100th anniversary of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS).

New leadership

Platini said he believed the HNS’s new leadership, elected earlier this year and headed by former star player Davor Suker, would “eventually resolve the problem of violence.”

UEFA has fined the HNS on several occasions for violence and racist behavior of Croatian hardcore football fans who often clash with the police.

At this year’s European championships, UEFA fined the HNS 80,000 euros ($100,000) after its supporters racially abused Italy’s Mario Balotelli in a group match in Poznan, western Poland.

A Croatian court on Dec. 3 sentenced eight hooligans to prison terms of up to two-and-a-half years for attacking a bus of PAOK fans ahead of the Greeks’ Europa League match in 2010.